Looking for some new trivia topics to (hopefully) impress your dinner guests? If you’re looking for some new things to say about Arizona without delving into politics, here are 15 facts about our state that will, at the very least, raise some eyebrows in wonder.
1. Arizona territory could have joined the Union earlier.
Had voters approved the measure to be added with New Mexico in becoming one massive state, we could have celebrated statehood sooner. Arizonans, however, did not approve and we became our own state a little over a month later.
2. We have one of the best preserved meteor craters in the world.
The Barringer Meteor Crater, better known as Meteor Crater, sits outside Winslow and is estimated to be about 50,0000 years old.
3. NASA astronauts did some of their moon landing training at Meteor Crater.
They imagined the moon’s surface would be similar to the site and practiced soil sampling in the area.
4. Arizona women won state suffrage eight years earlier than the rest of the country.
While suffrage proposals were introduced in the 1880s, it wasn’t until after achieving statehood in 1912 that male voters approved an initiative for women to vote.
5. We have a popular state gem!
You’ve heard of the state bird, state flower, and state song. but did you know that turquoise is our state gem?
6. And state neckwear since 1971.
Best known for its association with western wear, the bolo tie is our state’s official neckwear.
7. Gilbert was a hay capital.
During World War II, Gilbert was best known for supplying war horses with alfalfa hay.
8. The state seal seals the deal for settler history.
Emblazoned with the phrase “ditat deus” (God enriches), it features a picturesque image of mining, grazing, and farming that drove settlers across the plain for land to claim.
9. Arizona is home to 21 federally recognized Indian tribes and 28% of the state is reservation land.
The two largest reservations are the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona (though it also encompasses a portion of Utah and New Mexico) and the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona.
10. Arizona has the largest number of speakers of Indigenous languages.
Navajo (Diné bizaad) is the most widely spoken in our state and, coincidentally, is spoken more here than in the rest of the nation. It is closely followed by Western Apache and Yavapai.
11. The first known European to enter lands now considered Arizona was Marcos de Niza in 1539.
A Jesuit Franciscan, de Niza moved through a portion of eastern Arizona and a later expedition was led by conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in search of the fabled cities of gold.
12. Picacho Peak was the site of the westernmost Civil War battle.
In spring 1862, a few dozen Confederate and Union soldiers duked it out near the peak, leaving three dead and five wounded.
13. By the way, Arizona has a confederate history.
The lower half along with a portion of New Mexico was claimed by the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
14. The only woman to be executed in the state was Eva Dugan.
And what a grisly sight it was. She was executed in February 1930 by hanging but the rope wound up decapitating her and caused several spectators to faint, including three men. This event also led the state to adopt lethal gas chambers as a preferred execution method.
15. Two World War II Japanese internment camps were on Arizona soil.
Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated to sites on the Colorado River and the Gila River Indian Reservations despite vocal objections from tribal governments.
So, how many of these did you already know? What other facts would you like to share with your fellow Arizonans? Tel us in the comments section below!